The Room (2012 video game)
|Writer(s)||Oliver Reid Smith|
The Room is a 2012 puzzle video game developed by Fireproof Studios. The game was originally developed for the iOS platform and released in September 2012. The Android version debuted as part of a Humble Bundle in March 2013 and was subsequently released on Google Play. An enhanced version of the game was released for Microsoft Windows on July 28, 2014, featuring improved graphics and game controls for PCs.
The Room presents the player with a series of strange boxes that have a number of physical mechanisms on them. The player is challenged to figure out how to open each one - typically by undoing a series of locks - to access another puzzle box within it. The game uses a variety of motions enabled by mobile device touchscreens to simulate actions in real life, such as looking around the device, turning keys, and activating switches. Through the game, a story involving the research of an unnamed person into the fifth classical element, "null," which is described in notes found through the various box puzzles.
The Room has received positive reception, and the iOS version received several awards. The game has sold more than 1 million copies and a free expansion was released in August 2013. The first sequel, entitled The Room Two, was released for the iPad in December 2013. The Room Three was released for mobile devices in November 2015. A fourth sequel, The Room: Old Sins, is anticipated to be released by late 2017.
The Room is a three-dimensional puzzle game. The game has a minimal story, in which the player is told by letters of a mysterious box in a room in a house; as the player solves the puzzles around the box, more notes from the same author - one who previously had solved the mystery of the box - are found, describing the box's use of an ethereal material called "Null", as well as showing the author slowly descending into madness.
On starting the game, the player is presented with the first of four puzzle boxes. The first box is offered as a tutorial to the game's controls, which demonstrate how to move around the box and interact with features of the box. The player has a small inventory for items like keys found in compartments in the box. A key inventory element is a special lens that, in-game, allows the player to see things made from the Null element that compose parts of the box. The lens can generally be equipped at any time to see these secrets, often requiring the player to manipulate the view to align secrets into a coherent symbol. The goal is to fully unlock each puzzle box, extracting a smaller but increasingly complex box within it.
Fireproof Games is a British development firm borne out from six developers that had been working at Criterion Games on the Burnout racing series; together they decided to quit to form their own small team to provide outsourcable artwork to other developers. Their work was included in both LittleBigPlanet games, DJ Hero, and other racing titles like Split/Second and Blur. With the advent of the mobile gaming market through iOS, they opted to develop in that space, hiring a programmer in January 2012 to create their own title, The Room; during its development, the game only took two of Fireproof's team, the rest of the company continuing to work on other outsourcing jobs.
With The Room, the goal was "to make the best iOS game we could, not just try to make a big console game for iOS", according to Fireproofs' Barry Meade. They wanted to emphasise the use of the touchscreen of mobile devices in its own unique way, similar to the success of Cut the Rope and Angry Birds. At the same time, they wanted to create a game that would be immersive for the player, and had devised the appropriate touch controls to provide tactile responses that worked alongside their art and music assets to help towards this.
The game was initially created for Apple's iPad (compatible with iPad 2 upwards) and released in September 2012. It was subsequently adapted and made available and adapted for the Apple iPhone 4s upwards & iPod Touch 5th Gen under the guise of "The Room Pocket" as of 3 December 2012, which included a free first level and additional levels available for purchase. An Android version of The Room was created for mobile devices as part of the Humble Mobile Bundle which was released on 26 March 2013.
A free expansion to The Room was released in August 2013 which updated the game with a new level and links the end of the first game to the sequel. The sequel, The Room Two, was released on iTunes on 12 December 2013. In 2014, Fireproof Games announced that a third title, The Room Three will be released for mobile platforms in 2015. In November 2015, the second sequel was released.
Upon its release The Room was featured as Apple's Editors choice across the world, going on to receive the coveted "Apple iPad Game of the Year 2012" and the BAFTA for best British video game. It won the following awards:
- iPad Game of the Year 2012 - Apple Inc
- Best British Game 2012 - BAFTA 
- Best Handheld/Mobile Game 2012 - Game Developers Choice Awards 
- Excellence in Visuals - The International Mobile Game Awards 2012
- People's Choice Award - The International Mobile Game Awards 2012
- Best Game Design 2012 - TIGA
- Best Mobile/iOS Game 2012 - New York Video Game Critics Circle Awards
- Best Mobile Puzzle Game - JayisGames.com
- Best iPad Game 2012 - Gamezebo
- Best Mobile Game 2012 - Cnet Aus
As of March 2013, The Room on iPad has sold over 1.4 million copies and near its initial release, ranked as one of the top-selling games on several iOS lists The free Pocket version has been downloaded over 2.4 million times. In March 2014, Fireproof Games stated that they have sold 4 million copies of The Room and an additional 1.4 million copies of its sequel. By October 2016, the three games in the series have sold more than 11.5 million copies.
Fireproof had only hoped to break even on the game, having spent only GB£60,000 towards development. They broke even on the first week, allowing them to plan for the expansions and sequels, and to start to consider other projects.
On Metacritic, The Room received an 88 based on 13 critics for the iOS version and a 73 based on 4 critics for the PC version.
- McElroy, Justin (23 July 2014). "The Room, with enhanced decor, coming to PC next week". Polygon. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "The Room 2 Launching on iPad December 12". IGN. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2013.
- Totilo, Stephan (5 November 2015). "Nine Minutes Of The Room 3, An Excellent New Puzzle Game That's Best Unspoiled". Kotaku. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
- Blake, Vikki (9 March 2017). "NEW THE ROOM SEQUEL ANNOUNCED". IGN. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
- Dredge, Stuart (23 January 2013). "Apple award sends iPad game The Room soaring past 1m sales". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
- Star, Michelle (27 March 2013). "The Room debuts on Android with Humble Bundle". CNET. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Nicholson, Brad (16 August 2013). "'The Room' receiving an epilogue in upcoming free update". toucharcade.com. Retrieved 11 September 2013.
- Gilmour, James (5 April 2013). "Fireproof Games announces update and sequel to Apple's iPad GOTY The Room". Pocket Gamer. Retrieved 5 April 2013.
- Futter, Mike (19 November 2013). "The Sequel To Fireproof Games’ The Room Arrives In December". Game Informer. Retrieved 19 November 2013.
- "A teaser image for The Room Three". Fireproof Games. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- iPad Game of the Year 2012
- Best British Game 2012
- Best Handheld/Mobile Game 2012
- Excellence in Visuals
- People's Choice
- Best Game Design 2012
- The A Train Awards for Best Mobile Game
- Best Puzzle Game 2012
- Best iPad Game of 2012
- Best Mobile game of 2012
- Futter, Mike. "Fireproof Games’ The Room Series Sells 5.4 Million In 14 Months". Game Informer. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
- Wawro, Alex (2016-10-21). "Fire(proof) Sales: The Room games surpass 11.5M copies sold". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2016-10-21.